Flashback to the Episode: An Example of Intertextuality between Batman: The Animated Series and Batman and Robin Adventures

Curator's Note

The connection between Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) and related comics has mainly been referred to regarding special issues like Mad Love (1994) or Batman Adventures: The Lost Years (1998). By contrast, the intertextuality between individual episodes of B:TAS and regular issues of its comic spin-off (or tie-in) Batman Adventures/Batman and Robin Adventures (1992-1995/1995-1997) has rarely been analyzed. Although Tyler Weaver claims that the latter “did not continue stories from the series … with a ‘To Be Continued’ tag … picked up in the comic book series” (234), a salient case of intertextuality and continuation can be detected in case of the episode “Bane” (S2E10, September 10, 1994) and the Batman and Robin Adventures comic “To Live and Die in Gotham City” (#12, November 1996).

The comic features its own take on the final sequence of the episode in form of a flashback. Going through withdrawal, the villain Bane experiences this flashback within a dream, which presents his memories of the episode’s final events by means of internal focalization. Instead of merely repeating the episode’s sequence, the comic shows how Bane interprets his defeat by adding elements absent from the episode, such as new visual details (e.g. a puddle of red fluid under the villain’s body), a supporting character as a mouthpiece of Bane’s conscience inserted into the flashback, and Batman’s scathing reference to Bane’s drug addiction. By stressing within the dream/flashback that the villain starts to perceive his defeat as a new beginning and opportunity to kick his drug habit, the comic appropriates the episode’s end and expedites its own plot as a sequel .

This example of intertextuality might not only emphasize how the possibility of continuing an open-ended B:TAS episode (regarding Bane’s fate) is fleshed out in a tie-in comic via modification and incorporation of elements taken from the episode. Moreover, it seems to implicitly underline mechanisms of the interaction between animated TV series and their comic spin-offs/tie-ins. The internally focalized dream/flashback simultaneously recounts, modifies, and repurposes preceding events and may thereby call attention to the way those comics can make use of a TV series’ style, characters, constellations or plotlines within a franchise’s boundaries, oscillating between a faithful transfer and an individual setting of priorities.

References

Weaver, Tyler. Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld. Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2013.

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